Pilgrim's Progress

This Month, Top P.g.a. Coach, Mike Pilgrim Of Ingleby Barwick Golf Academy Will Provide You With Some Helpful Tips On How To Manage Your Game When Playing On The Golf Course.

This Month, Top P.g.a. Coach, Mike Pilgrim Of Ingleby Barwick Golf Academy Will Provide You With Some Helpful Tips On How To Manage Your Game When Playing On The Golf Course.

Course Management - The mental side of the game is arguably just as, if not more, important than the physical side of the game. I believe both are as important as each other. Sound course management can often mean the difference between a good score and a bad one. Poor course management will invariably mean that you will not fulfil your potential.

As the 2008 golf season is coming to a close, this is the time to assess your own 2008 season and set goals for the 2009. A good way to achieve your goals for the next season is to practice regularly on the practice tee or driving range. There is an old adage that "practice makes perfect" and like most adages it is correct, but only up to a point. Too many amateur golfers reap little or no benefit from their practice because they practise the wrong things.

Below, I have provided some helpful tips on good golf practice.

1) Back To Basics

It is very easy to take the basic fundamentals of the golf swing for granted i.e. clubface aim, grip, body aim, posture, stance and ball position. You can check these without hitting a ball (see Pic1and Pic2)

However, you should always practice with a target in mind. When I am teaching, I see far too many people simply hitting balls without a target in mind. Most driving ranges I have been to have targets to aim for i.e. 50 yard markers (pic3), 100 yard markers and so on.

Once you have checked your basics, begin to hit the ball towards your nearest yard marker. This will most likely be the 50 yard marker. Then move up to the 100 yard marker, the 150 yard marker, and so on. The idea is to hit every single shot to a target.

Once you have been through the bag, hitting shots right through from your wedges to your driver, pick out random markers to hit at with different clubs. Practising this way will sharpen your accuracy. It will also give you a good indication how far you hit each club in your bag which, in turn, is going to help you with your club selection when playing on the course.

2) Work On Your Weaknesses

Once you have analysed your recent game/s of golf and isolated your weakness, it makes sense to work hard on eradicating them. Tiger Woods has made quite a few swing changes since turning professional in an attempt to achieve his goal of being the greatest player that has ever played the game.

Through application, you can improve too but you have to be realistic about what you can achieve given your work/home commitments. You might only have one to two hours a week to practice so use your practice time wisely and work on your weaknesses.

3) Take Your Time

If you are on the driving range with your friends/colleagues, try to remember it is not a race to see who can finish the basket of balls the quickest. Little or no thought goes into the session and the end result is that it does no good at all. What you should try to remember is that each practice shot is important especially if you have little time to practice due to other commitments.

I would recommend that you practice with a friend whenever possible. There are two reasons for this:- 1) First and foremost it is a lot more fun to practice with a friend; and 2) secondly, your friend can give an independent opinion on what you are working on at that particular time.

At the end the session, challenge each other to see who can get the ball closer to various targets. A small wager often helps recreate the sort of pressure you feel when playing in your weekly medal competition. IF YOU WANT HELP WITH YOUR GAME, CONTACT P.G.A. PROFESSIONAL MIKE PILGRIM AT THE TIM JENKINS GOLF SUPERSTORE 01642 765000


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer